Australian Open 2023: Iga Swiatek takes on Elena Rybakina in fourth round

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Iga Swiatek plays a backhand
Iga Swiatek reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2022
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 16-29 January
Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra ‘Tennis Breakfast’ live from Melbourne, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website & app

Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina will go head-to-head in the battle of the 2022 Grand Slam champions as the fourth round of the Australian Open gets under way on Sunday.

World number one Swiatek, winner of last year’s French and US Opens, will face Wimbledon champion Rybakina for a place in the quarter-finals.

But fans descending on Rod Laver Arena for the encounter should consider themselves warned – no more bakery chants.

Poland’s Swiatek has proved herself a dab hand at dishing out bagels – when a set is won 6-0 – and breadsticks – a 6-1 scoreline – throughout her career to date.

In 2022 alone, she recorded 22 bagels – the best since Serena Williams’ 25 in 2013 – and 20 breadsticks, and beat Spain’s Cristina Bucsa 6-0 6-1 on Friday to progress to the fourth round in Melbourne.

Her ‘bakery’ even has a dedicated website, but Swiatek will not be calling in any time soon.

“I heard it when someone screamed about the bakery, but I don’t want to hear stuff like that during the match,” the 21-year-old said.

Sunday will be only the second tour meeting between her and Kazakhstan’s Rybakina – Swiatek winning in straight sets in Ostrava in 2021.

Rybakina is seeded 22nd for the first Grand Slam of the year, but insisted she would not be fazed by taking on the top seed so early in the tournament.

“To be honest, it doesn’t matter which round I play because I think Iga is a great player. No matter what, the goal is to beat the top players,” said the 23-year-old.

“For sure she’s very strong physically and mentally. I think that if I’m going to play my game, aggressive, I’m going to be solid from the beginning until the end.”

The prize will be a quarter-final against either seventh seed Coco Gauff of the United States or Latvian 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko, who are second on Margaret Court Arena.

In the men’s draw, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime takes on the unseeded Czech Jiri Lehecka, while Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz takes on American Sebastian Korda.

Sunday’s night session is headlined by third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas – yet to drop a set in the tournament – as he faces Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

Sinner, seeded 15th, will be seeking revenge after a straight-set defeat by the Greek at the quarter-final stage 12 months ago.


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